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Logano Nabs First Top Five of 2024 at Richmond – Motorsports Tribune

Logano Nabs First Top Five of 2024 at Richmond – Motorsports Tribune

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

In racing, sometimes luck is on a driver’s side while others end up drawing the shortest straw. Some handled the drawing better than others as frustration loomed several contenders who either felt robbed out of a win or unable to capitalize in moments when it mattered most.

For Joey Logano, he ended up among several contenders who drew such straw as he finished second behind race winner Denny Hamlin in Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. A much needed result as it marked his first top-five finish since Martinsville last November.

In some ways, despite not leading a lap in the race extended 407-lap contest, a runner-up finish felt like a win for Team Penske’s No. 22 team as Logano has finished 20th or worse four times in seven races.

Due to this, Logano hasn’t come close of being inside the playoff window as he’ll leave Richmond with a net gain of three spots in the regular season standings. An improvement from 22nd after Circuit of the Americas to 19th heading into Martinsville Speedway, 14 points below the cutoff line currently held by Brad Keselowski.

“This is definitely the hardest start to a season we’ve had,” said Logano. “Last week we started scratching and clawing and got a little bit of momentum through the last three races and ultimately get to here to where we were in the hunt again. 

“It feels good. It’s Richmond. It’s a unique racetrack. It’s our best racetrack as a team, so we expect to run good here. I don’t know if this completely takes us out of the deep end, but I think ultimately it’s a good momentum-builder for sure.”

As the race was winding down, it appeared Martin Truex, Jr. had the race in the bag with a fairly comfortable lead and had led over half the race.

However, Logano became quicker and was within a car length away from battling for a much-needed win as the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion hasn’t won in over a year.

Lapped cars played a role in Logano’s chase towards Truex and was running out of time. With two laps in regulation, the fifth and final caution came out in the most inconvenient time for the leader, but opened a new can of worms for Logano.

Over five seconds behind Truex and Logano was a frantic battle for fourth place between Kyle Larson and Bubba Wallace that went haywire. Both competitors entered the frontstretch when Wallace got into Larson, sending him around into the damped grass as…

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